What Are The Top Misconceptions That People Have About A Criminal Arrest?


Often, believe it or not, most people think the penalty will be worse than it is and most people think they will go to jail, while in reality, if they don’t have a long criminal history, that’s usually not the case unless it’s a serious bodily crime in which someone has been shot or something like that. Usually people think they’ll be punished worse than they end up being punished. That’s the biggest one; the tendency to over-exaggerate the penalty, so we have to calm them down.

Another misconception some people have is that they think it’s easier to get their case flat out dismissed than it actually. Some cases are dismissed but those are relatively rare.

What Are Some Unintentional Mistakes that Serve to Incriminate People?

About nine times out of ten, when people give statements they incriminate themselves and they do it without benefit of an attorney and they don’t know that their statement can be used against them. Many people, even after they’ve been given Miranda, sign those cards and give statements, then they change their minds and want to fight a case for a crime they have already confessed to. People make it harder for themselves, which is an unintended consequence of them giving the statement. I don’t know if they think they can get that statement thrown out later on, but it’s difficult.

Another misconception, especially with DUI, is that when people refuse breath tests, they don’t know they can refuse all the field sobriety tests, too; if you’re going to refuse the breath tests, we’d like them just to refuse everything; just sit down and let them take you to jail. However, a lot of people will refuse a breath test and then take the field sobriety tests knowing that the penalties are already the maximum, and they can’t penalize any more, but they incriminate themselves by taking the field sobriety tests.

Another way to incriminate themselves is by talking to friends about the case or when they are locked up, they have a tendency to talk to some of the people who are in there and that usually doesn’t help. In other words, they inadvertently confess to friends or to other inmates before we get hold of them.

Will the Courts be Lenient with Someone with No Prior Offenses and a Clean Record?

The general answer is yes, it counts quite a bit, but the caveat is, it depends on the type of crime and the amount of the property involved, if it’s a property crime, but generally, not having a criminal history does count quite a bit in terms of the deals we can get for clients without a criminal history. The general thrust of the judicial system is to give people a break if it’s the first time they messed up; they will probably get a break, except for a certain category of crimes for which there are no breaks, like sex crimes, serious bodily injury crimes that border on murder; those types of crimes. In those cases, it doesn’t matter if you have a light criminal history; they’ll come down on you pretty hard.

How Does Someone Know They Are Being Investigated for a Crime?

Believe it or not, nine out of ten people or more know something is going on; they probably did something and they already suspect they’re under investigation because they know if they did something. It’s rare that someone doesn’t know why police are investigating them and think they’re completely innocent; they usually know they did something or were involved with some other people, so they are not too surprised when they do get those calls from the police, but apart from that, once you are contacted by a detective or agent, they will tell you why they are investigating you and, most of the time, it’s better just to talk to an attorney. Most of the time, once they talk to you, they are pretty much following up on some good leads.

Am I Obligated to Speak with the Police and Answer Questions If They Come Calling?

The answer is no; you have the right to ask to speak to an attorney before you talk to them and once you get an attorney, they can subpoena you to go in there and talk. Then, whether or not you talk will depend on whether your attorney allows you to talk, but you’re not obligated to talk to them.

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